There was an 8.7% decline in the number of new homes consented in March, with some councils experiencing difficulties processing consents after the commencement of the COVID-19 lockdown.
Statistics NZ recorded 2904 new dwelling consents throughout the country in March, down 11.6% compared to the 3285 dwellings consented in February and down 8.7% compared to the 3180 consented in March last year.
The biggest drop was in the number of new retirement village units consented, which dropped to just 104, down 40.2% compared to March last year, followed by 290 apartments (-36.3%), while stand alone houses held up reasonably well with 1722 consented in March which was down just 11.6%.
Townhouses and home units were the bright spot in the figures with 788 consented in March, which was up 30.9% compared to March last year.
There was also a decline in the value of consents for residential alterations and additions, which fell to $152 million in March, down 6.6% compared to March last year.
The total value of all residential consents issued in March was $1.31 billion, down 5.7% compared to March last year.
However, there was a much bigger decline in the value of non-residential building work consented in March.
Statistics NZ said the value of all non-residential building work consented in March was $433 million, down 35.5% compared to March last year.
The biggest declines were hostels/boardinghouses/prisons -98.7%, followed by hospitals and nursing homes -80.9%, educational buildings -69.5%, offices -46.8%, retail premises -44.2%, farm buildings -24.0% and warehouse/storage buildings -5.2%.
However, consents for hotels/motels and factories went against the trend, with hotels/motels up 24.5% compared to March last year and factory consents up 96.2%.
The total value of building work consented in March was $1.775 billion, down 15.1% compared to March last year.
"The drop in new homes consented for March may partly be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, and some councils had difficulties issuing consents at the end of March," Statistics NZ acting construction indicators manager Dave Adair said.
Adair said two councils were unable to provide their consent figures in time to be included in the March figures but they accounted for less than 1% of the total.
The March figures would be revised when the April figures are released next month.
The first interactive chart below shows the number of new dwelling consents issued each month in every region.
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